Chinese smelters experienced some relief to their tight raw materials supply chains as imports of concentrate from Myanmar jumped in June.

The latest customs data, which is reported as gross weight, indicated that 14,249 tonnes came from Myanmar in June. This is a 131% increase month-on-month, with Myanmar representing 82% of the total imports.

In terms of metal content, ITA estimates that some 3,600 tonnes of -in-concentrate (tic) was imported from Myanmar, with an additional 1,500 tonnes from other countries. While imports from Myanmar were up some 140% MoM, they were down 5% compared to 2020. This is also true of imports from Myanmar over the first six months of the year, down from 18,700 tonnes tic to 18,000 tonnes tic.

Our view: In May, worker shortages slowed output from the world’s third largest tin mining area. As such, month-on-month comparisons were inflated; in fact, July’s total was roughly in line with the 2021 average.

Worker movement restrictions continue between Yunnan province, China, and Myanmar. Despite this, supply into China is likely to increase in the next few months. According to local sources in Myanmar, the local government is planning to begin selling some of its stock of tin concentrate. Some 1,500 tonnes tic is scheduled for sale in July, with another 2,500 tonnes tic in August.